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Bible

Understanding

Made Easy

Amaziah

          Amaziah is an interesting Bible character.  His story begins with triumph as he was walking with God.  However, his story ends in shame and defeated as he purposely walked away from God; leaving no power in his life.

          Amaziah was the king of Judah after his father, Joash, died.  He was the king for 29 years.  He was 25 years old when he became the king of Judah.  At first, he was a righteous king in the sight of God (2 Kings 14:1-3; 2 Chronicles 25:1-2). 

Unfortunately, Amaziah’s father Joash was murdered by his own officials earlier in Bible history.  As a result, Amaziah had these same officials murdered.  He spared the children of these officials because they were innocent and should not have paid for the sins of their fathers as the Bible commanded in Amaziah’s day (2 Kings 14:4-6; 2 Chronicles 25:3-4). 

Amaziah was obviously blessed by God, because he was able to defeat 10,000 Edomites in battle (2 Kings 14:7).  Remember, the promise of the Old Testament for the Jewish people of Amaziah’s day was when they were living in obedience to God, they would be victorious over their enemies (Deuteronomy 28).  Thus, Amaziah must have had influence over the people to help steer them into a right relationship with God so they were blessed in battle.  Unfortunately, after the victory over the Edomites, Amaziah made a crucial mistake.  He took the idol gods of the Edomites and started worshipping them himself (2 Chronicles 25:14).  God, in His anger, sent a prophet with the message, “Why do you consult this people’s gods, which could not save their own people from your hand?” (2 Chronicles 25:15 New International Version). This question made a lot of sense.  But it made no sense for Amaziah to bow down to the gods he basically defeated!  How could these false gods do anything for him!  They could not.  Instead, they drove a wedge between him and God.  Remember, sin always separates us from God and without repentance (i.e. change on our part) we cannot have a relationship with God again (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:7-10; Isaiah 59:2; 1 Peter 3:12).  Amaziah would surely pay for his sins in the future as he will no longer have power over his enemies.  Without God, there is no power for Amaziah or us!  Don’t let that happen to you!  You cannot pray for God’s assistance until you change (1 Peter 3:12).  The power is in God and we tap into this power through prayer (James 5:16).  The prophet rightly reveals to Amaziah that God would destroy him in the future (2 Chronicles 25:16-17).

Returning to our story, unfortunately, Amaziah picked a fight with Jehoash who was the king of nearby Israel.  Amaziah was fresh from defeating the Edomites in battle.  Jehoash told Amaziah that he was being arrogant in his challenge of Israel just because he was successful against Edom.  Jehoash also told Amaziah that he would meet sure defeat if he battled Israel (2 Kings 14:8-10; 2 Chronicles 25:17-19).  Jehoash’s words were correct.  He attacked Amaziah’s forces and captured the great city of Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was the crowning jewel of the country of Judah and it was where the Temple stood.  The Bible says that Jehoash looted the Temple of its valuables, took hostages from Judah, and returned to Samaria.  The Bible also says that the defeat of Amaziah was God’s punishment for his idolatry (2 Kings 14:11-14; 2 Chronicles 25:20-26).

Many years after Amaziah’s defeat at the hands of Jehoash, the Bible says that a coup arose within Amaziah’s country.  This means that Amaziah’s own men rose up to betray him.  Although he tried to run away to the town of Lachish, the betrayers caught and killed him there (2 Kings 14:15-21).

What do we learn from the story of Amaziah?  First, we learn that we must have God’s power on our side to be successful in anything.  We cannot do anything without Jesus (John 15:5).  We can make as many plans as we want, but these plans must be blessed by God first (James 4:13-17).  Remember, we have no power to pray for the things we want from God if we are living in sinful rebellion (1 Peter 3:12).  Not until we repent (i.e. change), confess our fault to God, and ask for forgiveness will God restore our relationship with Him and reopen our prayer line for our requests to be heard (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:7-10).  So, without God, we have no power!  Tap into the power of prayer by faithful obedience to the Lord!

Second we learn that we should never pick a fight.  We can always stand up for our rights when others are mistreating us (Acts 22:22-29).  However, when we stand up for our rights, we must do it the right way (Colossians 4:6).  We must not shout and do evil things to get back at people.  We speak up for our rights with love in our voices and in the things we do to get our point across.  If not, then we are sinful in the sight of God.  Picking a fight with others is a lack of love.  A lack of love is disobedience to God and thus, God’s presence will not be there with us when we are mistreating others (Matthew 7:12; James 2:8).

In conclusion, always remember to never imitate the mistakes of Amaziah in your spiritual life.  Walk with God not just some of the time, but all the time!  That way, God’s power can be activated in your life to cause you to be victorious over the many hurdles you will face.  Remember, God will not hear the prayers of the unrighteous.  Thus, obedience is key for asking God to do things for us.  He has all power and nothing is impossible to Him.  Thus, He is the best ally you can ever have, but this is only possible through consistent obedience to Him.  Lastly, treat your fellow human beings right.  Do not pick fights with them.  Instead, shower them with love as God would have it.

 

God’s Plan of Salvation

 

          There is so much confusion in the world today regarding what some people preach as God’s plan of salvation.  Some will have one say a prayer similar to the following, “Dear Jesus.  I realize that I am a sinner.  I accept you as my personal Lord and Savior.  Please forgive me now and save me.”  This is commonly called “A Sinner’s Prayer.”  There is only one portion of this type of prayer that is right.  One must accept Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior, but a prayer for salvation is not in the Bible.  One cannot pray and receive salvation.

Others preach that one can just believe and he/she is automatically a child of God.  Unfortunately, this method is not mentioned in the Bible as God's way of salvation either.

Even others preach that if an infant is baptized, he/she is saved at that moment.  Well, friend, again, this is a method made up by man and not in the Bible.

Literally studying the Bible, itself, is the only way to get a true and righteous answer to the question, "What must I do to be saved?"  This is where it is wise to allow the Word of God to explain itself as much as possible.  Please come with an open mind to this study as it is not meant nor worded to offend.  It is only designed to spread the truth of what God literally says one must do to be saved. 

First, we must study the first element of God's plan of salvation, which is to hear His Word as taught in the Bible, itself.  1 Corinthians 1:21 reads, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”  To those disinterested in the things of God, preaching salvation through Jesus Christ is foolishness to them.  It is nonsense.  On the other hand, for those truly seeking God, it is God’s wisdom displayed unto him/her.  Salvation comes through hearing the Word of God.  It does not come through feelings, flashes of great light, an audible Word from Jesus, Himself, a literal appearance from Him, or any other methods people claim to have experienced today.  Instead, God has said salvation comes from preaching.  In fact, Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (New King James Version).  This means one must hear the Word of God to be saved.  Again, this is done through preaching! 

 

Second, in order to be saved, Jesus says, “15…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16 New King James Version). This verse is showing us one must believe the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. What is that Gospel (i.e. the good news)? Acts 2:22-39 explains it to us and reads:

22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-- 23 "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 "whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 "For David says concerning Him: 'I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.' 29 "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." 36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call (New King James Version).

To say this in a brief manner, in order to be saved, one must believe that Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross of Calvary, rose again to life on the third day, and has been chosen by God the Father to be mankind’s Lord and Christ (i.e. Savior).

 

How is He the Savior of all mankind who will believe and obey Him? The answer is all mankind, including you and me, have sinned. This means we have all done something worthy of spiritual, eternal death. We are worthy of eternal punishment through our evil deeds (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Jesus volunteered to give His life as a substitute offering so we could be freed from the sentence of eternal, spiritual death (1 John 2:2; Romans 5:9-10). In other words, Jesus’ death was a peacemaking offering, also known as an atonement, with God the Father (Romans 5:11).

If one can believe the death of Jesus was the substitute for the eternal, spiritual death we deserved, then God is able to save him/her. If not, he/she cannot be saved, because there is no other way one can be saved (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 4:12; Titus 1:4). There is no salvation to those who do not become Christians before they die (John 14:6). Believing that Jesus is Lord and Christ is also a conviction that Jesus is the literal Son of God (John 3:16). He was human, but Divine as well.

Third, in order to be saved, one must also repent of his/her sins.  Jesus made it quite clear in His preaching that one must repent in order to be pleasing to God the Father.  One example of this command from Jesus is in Mark 1:15, which reads as follows, according to the New King James Version, “…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

What is repentance?  Orville J. Nave has a great definition of what this word means and is quoted as follows, “A complete reversal of one’s attitude and values, i.e. a turning toward God” (Unger & White, 1996).  This is just another way of saying when one desires to become a Christian, he/she has to make a commitment to live a morally upright life according to the Will of God in the New Testament.

 

Remember, when Jesus died, He brought in the New Testament (which is the New Covenant) and closed the Old Testament (i.e. the Old Covenant).  We are to obey the New Testament for salvation, but use the Old Testament for our learning of principles that have been carried over into the New Testament (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 12:24, Romans 15:4).  Please also keep in mind, the Father God speaks to us in these last days through His Son-Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3).  His Words, which are the Words of the Father God, are captured in the New Testament of the Bible (Matthew 7:21-23).

What does repentance lead to according to the Bible?  Acts 2:38 shows us and reads as follows, according to the New International Version, “…Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Remember, repentance is a change of lifestyle from the bad to the good.  Notice, repentance must come before God will forgive us of our sins.  Thus, if one will not commit to leaving a sinful lifestyle behind, then God cannot forgive the person.  Without forgiveness, there is no salvation. 

Fourth, one must confess Jesus Christ to be one’s Lord in order to be saved.  This is shown to us in Romans 10:9-10, according to the New International Version, “9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Italics Added).

The Bible gives an example of this confession in Acts 8:37.  Acts 8:36-38 reads as follows, according to the New American Standard 1995 Version:

36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ``Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?'' 37 And Philip said, ``If you believe with all your heart, you may.'' And he answered and said, ``I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'' 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.

Friend, as you can see, the saving confession, which acknowledges the fact one has accepted Jesus as his/her Lord, is “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

Fifth, in order to be saved, one MUST be baptized in water.  Jesus, again said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16 New King James Version).

Notice, Jesus used the word “and” between the words “believes” and “is baptized.”  This means the two concepts are connected and inseparable.  In order to be saved, one must BOTH believe and be baptized according to the teachings of God!  Man may separate the two in his own false teachings, but it is only the Word of God that saves! Water baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation with no exceptions.  If the Bible teaches it, then it is true.  If man teaches otherwise, then he is a liar! 

Sixth and finally, the last thing one must do to be saved is to stay faithful to Jesus Christ until he or she dies. This author did not imagine this concept, it is literally written in the Scriptures. Jesus said the following to all Christians, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10 New American Standard 1995 Version).

This word “faithful” is accurately defined by the renowned Greek scholar, Joseph Thayer. He defines the original Greek Word “pistos” (Strong’s number 4103) as the following, “Trusty; faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties” (Thayer, 2003).

Thus, to remain faithful to Jesus until death means all Christians are bound to live a life according to what Jesus commanded. That is, we have to continue believing in Him as our Lord and Savior until our earthly deaths (Hebrews 10:39; Matthew 10:32-33).   In addition, we have to live a life morally in accordance to the things He taught us (Matthew 7:21-23; Hebrews 1:1-3; Luke 6:41-49; James 2:20).

 

In summary, God’s plan of salvation, according to the Bible, is as follows:

  1.  One must hear the Word of God being the offering of salvation through Jesus Christ (Romans 10:17).

  2. (2) He or she must then believe this Gospel story of salvation by accepting Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior (Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:18-20; John 8:24).

  3.  He or she then must repent, which means to live a morally, clean Christian life by abandoning sinful ways (Acts 2:38; Mark 1:14-15).

  4. He or she must also confess Jesus Christ as his or her Lord, which means the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:37).

  5. He or she must be submerged in the watery of grave of baptism for the forgiveness of one’s sins (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21).

  6. All Christians must remain faithful to Jesus Christ by continued belief in and obedience to Lord until death (Revelation 2:10; Matthew 7:21-23; Hebrews 1:1-3; James 2:20; Hebrews 10:39).

 

What Are You Going To Do Now?

 

Are you one who has read the Bible and has understood that you may have, unfortunately, been deceived into thinking you were saved, but were not due to being taught false doctrine? Please do not be ashamed. Satan has many false teachers and preachers in this world (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)!  Remember, one of the tools Satan uses to keep us enslaved to sin and headed to eternal punishment is our own pride (1 John 2:16)!  Please do not let pride stop you from becoming a true Christian.  If you are one who thought you were a Christian, but realized you were not taught the truth leading to salvation, then this author begs of you to find a local church of Christ congregation and tell the minister there your dilemma.  Then, allow yourself to be taught the truth (Acts 8:26-39). From there, give yourself to Christ in truth so there will be no doubt of your salvation when the judgment day comes!  Make sure you have yourself baptized at the local congregation to wash away your sins (Acts 22:16)!  Remember, false teachings send us to eternal punishment and not heaven (Matthew 15:13-14; Galatians 1:8-9).  Only the truth will set us free from sin and eternal death (John 8:32).  May God bless you and keep you! This author loves you, but God loves you more (1 John 4:8-11; John 15:13)!

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